Three Little Comparisons

A new calendar year has just begun, and what better time to make three little comparisons to help you assess the effectiveness of your fundraising efforts. The questions can be applied at nearly any point in your development program – your overall totals, an individual appeal, or even to a single donor. They’re pretty simple, and hopefully you’ll find them helpful to get started on your own.

  1. Compare your results to your goal - Even if you didn’t write it down (which is highly recommended), you probably still had a goal in mind when you started your particular project. So ask yourself simply - how did your performance fare in terms of what you expected or hoped for? As simple as it sounds, comparing your actual to your projected outcomes is a pretty powerful evaluation tool and motivator for improvement.
  2. Compare your results to last year - If you didn’t have a goal, then at least compare the results from this year to the previous year. Are you moving in a positive direction? If not, are there environmental factors in your organization or community that affected your performance? If so, can you control them? If not, can you work around them? The answers to these questions can be very helpful tools to use for planning for the coming year.
  3. Compare your results to other similar organizations - If environmental factors did play a role in your outcomes for the year, you should expect other organizations in the same environment to have experienced similar issues. Compare your results to other groups nationally using statistics from the Association for Fundraising Professionals and Giving USA, or to others in your specialty area using networking groups you may belong to. You may even find helpful information by networking with your neighbors; make sure to connect with other NPO’s in your geographic area and share your experiences.

Important reminder: If you haven’t yet discovered the Growth In Giving report built right into your ResultsPlus application, check out the FEP Submission button on the System Add-ins tab. Complete the fields as required and requested, then click Print Report. You’ll quickly see some valuable year-to-year metrics on new and lapsed donors and giving increases/decreases – based on your own data!  Once you’ve had a chance to review the information, repeat the process and click Submit to send the report to AFP’s Fundraising Effectiveness Project to include your data in their national benchmarking effort.

So go ahead – dare to compare.